Bush, Olmert meet at White House

President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed Iran and Middle East peace issues at the White House.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time talking about Iran,” Bush said Wednesday as he greeted Olmert in the White House Oval Office. “It’s very important for the world to take the Iranian threat seriously.”

Also on the agenda were Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and renewed Israel-Syria negotiations. The latter has aroused skepticism at the White House, which describes Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“I’m looking forward to your wisdom of how you see the Syrian issue,” Bush said to Olmert.

Citing sources close to Olmert, Yediot Achronot reported on its front page Wednesday that the prime minister in the closed-door meeting would tell Bush that “time is running out” on diplomatic efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program and thus the United States should therefore prepare to attack Iran.

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment, but pundits voiced skepticism given widespread belief that Bush, in his final months in office, would be reluctant to impose another Middle East war on the United States.

Israel has hinted that it could resort to force to deny its arch foe the bomb, but targets in Iran may be too numerous, distant and fortified for the Jewish state to take on alone.

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